1983 Catalina 27 “Whitby”
For the past 5 years I have been the owner of a Macgregor 25 swing keel. The boat sails great but I felt I was always lacking that extra thrill of excitement that a full keel boat would provide. My hunt began 3 years ago with budget of $15,000 with the hopes of finding everything I dreamed of in a full keel boat. We ended up in Swans parking lot every time my wife and I were returning from Hamilton.
In late July of this year I contacted Swans to view a 1983 Catalina 27 named Whitby with the hopes that this would be the one. I have shopped from the Thousand Islands to Fort Erie with hope of finding that perfect boat.
When I walked on the deck of this particular boat a strange sensation of awe was felt and after entering the cockpit and cabin I was sure this was the boat for me. Everything I wanted in a boat was here, my pedestal wheel steering with a large stainless wheel, a cluster of gauges, dodger, a cabin we could walk through, and yes, a head that doesn’t require a contortionist to use. All the wood work throughout the interior was excellent. I told my wife I found the boat of my dreams, took her back to view the next day, and she fell in love with this boat just as I had. An offer was made with the conditions of survey, and yes, a diesel engine fire up and inspection. After this, everything just fell into place. The survey came back with two thumbs up. The engine fired up so quickly I was almost disappointed with the cost of bringing in a marine mechanic. The boat was hauled to Lagoon City were the mast was stepped, and another engine inspection, along with an oil change, were done, before the maiden voyage. The boat required cleaning for two days; the result of sitting in dry dock for a couple of seasons.
We left Lagoon City in mid-August for our maiden voyage to Everglades Marine in Pefferlaw. The wind was blowing out of the northwest at 20 knots gusting at 30 with a wave crest at one meter. With my wife at the helm turning her into the wind for the first time I hoisted the sails. We were amazed at the height of both the main and the full jib. We heeled over to 20 degrees to the port side where she stiffened up and took us for a sail that will be remembered for years to come. How different the boat felt from swing to full keel was nothing short of amazing. The knot meter was reading above 7.0. I asked my wife to bring her to starboard just a little where we heeled a little more and the knot meter increased to 8.2 knots. What a ride, a little scary for the first time though; my wife went white. I took the helm and brought her back to port, took some pressure off the main and maintained a thrilling sail for two hours. The sound of the rigging in the wind for the first time in two seasons was intimidating though, we had never sailed a vessel of this size before. We were both amazed at how smooth the sail was even though the lake was still cresting above one meter.
We sailed every chance we could the last of 2011 season and were never disappointed, the boat was everything Perry said it would be the only thing I would change on this boat is the name; Whitby just doesn’t cut it.